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RSS Feed Integration Into Blackboard

RSS (Real Simple Syndication) allows web sites and blogs to be "broadcast" across the Internet using XML, a descendant of HTML. These "broadcast signals" are picked up by programs called aggregators where you can read a collection of RSS Feeds to which you have subscribed. RSS Feeds are set up to transmit new postings or information on a specified cycle, typically at least once per day, providing the feed subscribers with an up-to-date news/information source.

Step 1: In Blackboard, turn off the WYSIWYG Text Box Editor:

1. Log in to Blackboard.
2. On the Welcome screen, click on Personal Information, in the upper left side of the screen.
3. Click Set Text Box Editor Options.
4. Click Unavailable and then click Submit.
5. Click OK twice to return to the Welcome screen.

Step 2: Find the RSS Feed Information

                 

1. Open a second Internet browser window, and go to the URL of the RSS feed you want to include in your Blackboard site. On most web sites and blogs, you can follow a link from the main page that says "XML" or "RSS". In this example, Slashdot is used.

                 

                 

                      2. Click on the link. Select and copy the URL for the page that you are taken to (in this case, http://slashdot.org/index.rss), or write it down.

Step 3:Convert the RSS Feed:

                 

1. Open a third Internet browser window (you should now have three windows open: one with Blackboard, one with the RSS URL, and one new one for the RSS Feed Converter).
  2. We will use Feed2JS to convert the RSS Feed, but you can use FeedBurner, if you prefer.
  3. go to Feed2JS at http://jade.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/feed.
  4. Select Build from the menu at the top of the page.

                 

                 

                      5. Enter the RSS Feed URL (in this case, http://slashdot.org/index.rss).

                 

                 

                      6. The remainder of this web page allows you to set various options for your RSS Feed display:
7. Under Show Channel, click Yes if you want to display title and author information for the feed; click No if you do not want to.
8. In the Number of Items box, enter 0 (zero) to show all items (stories), or another number to display that number of items.
9. In the Show/Hide Item Descriptions box, enter 0 for no descriptions, 1 for full descriptions, or a number of characters to display (such as 100).
10. Under Use HTML in Item Display, select whether you want to use all of the HTML given in the feed, none of it, or only paragraph breaks.
11. Under Item Posting Date, click Yes if you want to display the date the item was posted; click No if you do not.
                      12. In the Target Links in the New Window box, enter "y" to have links open in a new window (recommended).
                    13. Click Preview the Feed to see what it will look like.

                 

                 

If you do not like the way your feed looks, change your options accordingly.
                      14. When you are satisfied with your RSS Feed, click Generate JavaScript.

 Step 4: Add the RSS Feed to your Blackboard Site:

                 

1. In Blackboard, from the Welcome screen, click on the Blackboard course to which you will be adding the RSS Feed.
  2. Click on Control Panel, in the lower left corner of the screen.
  3. Click on a Content Area or on Announcements (depending on where you want to add the feed).
  4. Click the Add a New Item button.
  5. In the RSS feed window, copy the displayed code.
 
6. Paste the code into the Text Box of your Blackboard page. Select the HTML option below the Text Box.
   
7. If you want, before or after the pasted text, you can add some text describing what the RSS Feed is and how to use it.
                      8. Click Submit to post your RSS Feed.
                    9. When you return to section of your course where you posted the RSS Feed, it should display like this:

                 

                 

Now that you have created one RSS Feed and inserted it into Blackboard, you can repeat this process for as many RSS Feeds as you may need. Feeds can be added to any Content Area or to the Announcements screen.

 Step 5:Format Multiple RSS Feeds in Blackboard:

                 

If you wish to have two RSS Feeds in your Blackboard course that are displayed side by side in columns, you can do this using an HTML table:

                 

1. In Blackboard, from the Welcome screen, click on the Blackboard course to which you will be adding the RSS Feed.
  2. Click on Control Panel, in the lower left corner of the screen.
  3. Click on the Content Area (or Announcements) where your Feed is located.
  4. Click the Modify button to the right of the Feed .
  5. In the Text Box of your Blackboard page, enter the following, replacing the bold information as appropriate:
<table>
<tr><td><b>[name of your first feed] </b></td>
<td><b>[name of your second feed] </b></td></tr>
<tr valign="top">
<td>
  [paste the code for your first feed here]
</td>
<td>
  [paste the code for your second feed here]
</td></tr></table>
  6. Select the HTML option below the Text Box.
   
  7. If you want, before or after the table code, you can add some text describing what the RSS Feeds are and how to use it.
  8. Click Submit to post your RSS Feeds.
  9. When you return to section of your course where you posted the RSS Feeds, they should display like this: